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By: Brian Neufeld, Contributor

Most golfers play the same golf course, or a few courses,  every round of their lives. Playing at a new property for the first time is often a whirlwind experience. After the round, you’ll remember a handful of shots or one standout hole, but the majority of the round is a total blur and you couldn’t remember what hole you were on to save your life. Let’s look at some ways to make that first round at a new golf course a successful and memorable outing.

Do Your Own Research

One of the easiest ways to improve the experience of your first round at a new course is to do some advanced scouting. Almost all courses have scorecards online, and most have hole-by-hole descriptions with pictures. Spend some time the night before your round looking through the holes. It’s beneficial to any golfer to have a general understanding of the course layout before their round, and the less time you spend worrying about navigation can be focused solely on your golf game. Online maps are also a great tool to get a more detailed view of each hole.

Local Knowledge

Every course has its own unique features and characteristics. You’ll often hear stories of putts always breaking towards the river or away from the mountains, and a lot of times this is great information to have for someone without an intricate knowledge of each hole. One of the best ways to obtain this information is from the course staff. While the head pro might not have time to dish out tips to newcomers, marshalls and cart staff are usually eager to share information. These support staffers are frequently on the course more than any standard patron as well, so the intel provided is generally solid and forged by first-hand experience.

Park the Cart

If it is allowed on the property, try to walk your first round on a new course instead of riding. Spending the extra minute or so walking to your ball between shots is the best way to soak up the experience and slow your mind down. You will assuredly remember more of the course and might see some things you would have missed flying around in a cart. It’s good exercise and you’ll save some money on a cart fee as well.

Some of the greatest courses in the country are open to the public, and every state has a hidden gem or two. Try leaving your home course on your next golf outing and visit a course you’ve yet to play. With these tips in your bag, you should play better golf and enjoy the new track like it’s one of your own. 

About the Author: Brian Neufeld

Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for’s readers.

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